Corkscrewing Around 2016

It is New Year’s Eve, and it has been an exciting year of corkscrew collecting, corkscrew adventures, and wonderful times with the lovely personal personal trainer.

We will start ringing in the new year a little earlier this year, as the wine shop is hosting its second annual “Bubble Bath” and we will start popping corks and pouring wine at about 3 o’clock…

Tomorrow morning we will be off to Portland for a quick getaway, and then it will be back to corkscrewing around.

There have been many many many corkscrews acquired this year, some remain in the collection, some have been passed on to others, and it truly is amazing what is still out there in the wild.

There have been visits to the island from Leon,  adventures with Tommy at Brimfield, visits with Leon, Tommy, and the lovely in Chicago, adventures to Toronto to visit Joe, Monika, Ron and Marilyn, trades, deals, purchases, sales, auctions, the construction of the “corkscrew room,” the annual meetings in Nanaimo and Vancouver, multiple trips to California (with some good finds) and so many exciting adventures in between. And, there have been so many other exciting events. Truly a great year for corkscrewing.

We wish you all an upcoming year of peace, good health, love, and a few corkscrews!

Edward Leverich Hall

From a 1912 issue of American Druggist:

To Lower the Death Rate

The number of accidental deaths in the United States from poisoning in the course of five consecutive years amounted to 8,441 in four states alone, the remaining states have hallillustration
no statistics of this kind.  These figures show that something out to be done to prevent the possibility of such accidents.  The Hall Red-Devil-Skull Company, 115 Nassau street, have brought out a unique preventive of such poisoning, which consists of a Red-Devil Skull in the shape of a corkscrew, made of a composition, colored a deep red.  The little sharp horns of the “Red Devil” project above the rest of the skull, thus preventing anyone from pulling the cork of the bottle thus protected without a prick from these horns.  In daylight the shape the color of the corkscrew protect and warn.  The advantage of this little device is that it can be applied by any one to the cork of any bottle when care must be used when taking its contents.  The skulls are inexpensive and there is room on the back for the name of the druggist, so that it becomes a valuable advertisement as well as a most useful article.  We understand that the company, which owns the patent rights and manufactures these skulls, will send free samples with full information to any druggist.

Also, within the issue:

Poison Bottle Indicator

Retail druggists all over the world are buying Hall’s Red-Devil-Skull corkscrew, an invention to safeguard their patrons.  Projecting devil horns on the handle warn the user at night by sense of touch.  Many deaths have been caused through picking up bottles in the dark.  This will prevent that.  Any druggist that orders a quantity may have his name put on the corkscrew.  Prices, samples, and information may be had by sending to the Hall Red-Devil-Skull Company, Danville, Ill.

We know that the HRDS stands for the Hall’s Red Devil Skull, as Don Bull published on his website a few years ago having found a box for the little Skulls on eBay.  And, we know that there are two sizes.

But, from these two brief articles, now we know that the little horns were intentionally sharp.  And, that they little skulls had the possibility of serving as an advertising vehicle.

Have an you you found a Hall’s Red Devil Skull with advertising?

Moreover, the article explains that the company has the patent rights.  Is there a patent for this little guy?


The digging will continue, but thus far no patent has been discovered.  Still, we have found the inventor!  Mr. Edward Leverich Hall, who according to the University of Illinois Directory as of 1910, was listed as Gen. Mngr., Red Devil Skull Co., Danville, ILL.  Invented the Red-Devil-Skull, a device to prevent accidental poisoning, now being sold extensively across the U.S.



Chick Can Opener

From a 1911 issue of Commercial America, Volume 8.

Chick Can Opener

To open a can with the Chick Can Opener illustrated herewith, the opener is simply set to the proper size, the center disc placed on the center of the can and by slight pressure on the large center holder, the pins penetrate the can.  A turn of the long handle then cuts a circle open in the can.  The straight blade at the end is used for opening square or odd-shaped tins and is provided with corrugations to prevent slipping.


The Chick Can Opener is offered for export by the Andrews Wire and Iron Works, 80 Griswold Street, Detroit, Michigan.  It is made in two styles, one for ordinary household use and a larger one for hotel use, the latter opening any cans up to the one-gallon size.

“The Chick Can Opener?” you ask.

Well, sure.  This particular can opener was patented in 1908 by Oscar F. Braconier, and was assigned to our man Oscar F., but it was also assigned to one Thomas Chick.

Hence the Chick Can Opener…


I don’t yet have this patent, but I would happily trade heavily for it.  Or, perhaps make an outright purchase.  So, if you have the Chick Can Opener (with corkscrew), feel free to drop me a line.


This would start the 2017 corkscrew collecting year off right.  Do you have one?


Best 6 for 2016!


1. In 2014, I was fortunate to be able to acquire Anton Trunk’s 1886 U.S. design patent for a corkscrew (# D-16,799). As mentioned that year, I had added incentive to add the piece to the collection, as Anton Trunk has a connection to James D. Frary.

This year, I was lucky enough to acquire the other version of the patent.  This example maintains a bit more of her modesty, and is more reflective of the patent drawing. The one on the left is a bit more curvy and maintains her britches.  Both Trunks are unmarked (see O’Leary, 1996, p. 75).


2. Joseph A. Smith’s 1884 patented Corkscrew # 299,864.   Unmarked (see O’Leary, 1996, p.68).

3. 1907 Albert Dudly. Sr. patented Stopper Extractor #847,744.  Marked, DUDLY TOOL CO, MENOMINEE, MICH, PATENT PENDING (see O’Leary, 1996, p. 123).

4. In the late Bob Nugent’s article on Murphy corkscrews, he mentions a square challenge type, explaining “The Challenge and the Victor models are usually marked R. MURPHY BOSTON across the top of the open frame which is usually arched.  On example has square cut openings and is marked ROBERT MURPHY.  It is probably an early example.”


For nearly a decade, I have been hunting for this square cut version of the Murphy corkscrew, and managed to finally find it at the Brimfield Antique Show.   As Bob’s article explains, it is marked ROBERT MURPHY (see

5. F.P. Nobis’ 1906 patented Stopper Extractor #825,929.  Marked COMPLIMENTS OF THE AMERICAN CORK AND SEAL CO. PHILA, PA and on the reverse F.P. NOBIS MFG. CO, ADVERTISING SOUVENIRS, PHILADELPHIA, PA, PAT. 7.17.06 (see O’Leary, 1996, p.230 and Morris, 2012 

6. Marshall Weir patented Corkscrew #330,357.   Normally marked with the patent date of PAT. NOV. 10, 1885 and PEERLESS, this example does not have the patent date, and instead is marked PAT. APL’D FOR (see O’Leary, 1996 p.72).

Cork AND corkscrew

Last week, an “unusual old corkscrew” was listed on eBay with a description that read, “Looks to be an unusual corkscrew…..or something is missing?”

I looked closely at the images, and it looked vaguely familiar.


Have I seen this somewhere before?

And, over the course of the week that the auction ran, I would return to the listing.  Okay, so there is a chip in the handle, and the it looks as if the retaining washer thingy at the top of the corkscrew might have been popped.  And, what is this odd thing in the middle.  It isn’t a bell mechanism, so how would it facilitate the withdrawal of a cork?

Still, the opinion bid was 19.99, so why not take a chance.

I placed a snipe bid, and grabbed O’Leary (not that I grabbed Fred, but his book).

Heading to the patent drawings, I turned to page 207.  Not immediately mind you, I thumbed through until I came across the M. Beust patent of 1892.

And, what is the M. Beust patent of 1892 for?

A combined Cork and Corkscrew…

Now, the patent drawing only resembles the piece, but could this be a Beust patent?

It arrived yesterday, and I am quite pleased with it.  That said, in looking at it closely, there are no markings.


Further, the patent description mentions a detachable screw, and this one isn’t coming apart anytime soon.   I sent pictures to BT, who said he found a corkscrew of similar construction to the one I just picked up.

Okay, there are at least two…

But is this the Beust?

To complicate this, while the little retaining washer thingy is raised, the worm is tight, and there is no play in the piece where someone could have removed the washer retaining thingy, and added the stopper piece, only to put it back together.

What do you all think?  A Beust?  Is it missing something?  Do you have one?